NOTE: THIS ARTICLE is a reprint from the blog of reverend Kevin Rogers of New Song Church in Windsor, Ontario and is reproduced here for your convenience. You can visit the his blog called "The Orphan Age" HERE.


As if cruel punishment were not enough… sometimes you will see a human anger that wants to intensify the cruelty beyond what is already an insane penalty. We see this sometimes in the realm of crime and punishment. It also can trickle down into wanting to punish others that have betrayed, abandoned, abused or insulted you. A nasty divorce for instance can be ripe with an antagonistic need to punish the other and sacrifice the children if needs be—all to prove a point that we have been violated and that the other is our proven enemy.


Sometimes you don’t even need a justifiable reason to hate people that have different ideas than you. The retribution principle runs deep in the human psyche and serves to dehumanize those that betray your own sense of right and wrong.



Daniel 3:

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar Was Very Angry With Shadrach, Meshach And Abednego. The Look On His Face Changed. And He Ordered That The Furnace Be Heated Seven Times Hotter Than Usual. 20 He Also Gave Some Of The Strongest Soldiers In His Army A Command. He Ordered Them To Tie Up Shadrach, Meshach And Abednego. Then He Told His Men To Throw Them Into The Blazing Furnace. 21 So They Were Tied Up. Then They Were Thrown Into The Furnace. They Were Wearing Their Robes, Pants, Turbans And Other Clothes. 22 The King’s Command Was Carried Out Quickly. The Furnace Was So Hot That Its Flames Killed The Soldiers Who Threw Shadrach, Meshach And Abednego Into It. 23 So The Three Men Were Firmly Tied Up. And They Fell Into The Blazing Furnace.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar Leaped To His Feet. He Was So Amazed He Asked His Advisers, “Didn’t We Tie Up Three Men? Didn’t We Throw Three Men Into The Fire?”

They Replied, “Yes, We Did, Your Majesty.”

25 The King Said, “Look! I See Four Men Walking Around In The Fire. They Aren’t Tied Up. And The Fire Hasn’t Even Harmed Them. The Fourth Man Looks Like A Son Of The Gods.”



What do make of this furnace being used for their execution?


It was probably constructed not for the purpose of punishment but for the making of the image, which would have required melting and casting the metal, or for other construction work.[1]


It was designed in a way that had an opening that they were dropped into and another opening on the side where you could presumably throw the fuel onto the fire to keep it burning.


And what about Nebuchadnezzar’s order to make the fire seven times hotter? It sounds like an exaggerated perspective which is often what you get with persecutors. The nuclear weaponry that exists today if far more damaging and annihilating than is required to simple kill the people in target. What we see in the 7X order is hyperbole.


The brick kilns of the time normally operated at around 1650°F (900°C). With the technology available it would not have been possible even to double this temperature.[2]


But the temperature is not the relevant point. It is the illogicity of the ideology that is worth noting. Angry people will easily transgress far beyond an eye for an eye.


What is most essential here is the recognition of where people stand. Where did the king and his courtiers stand and what glue held their belief system together that this was the right thing for a State to do?


When three Hebrew men had to stand alone before an evil empire, they were marked as violators of the greater good of the State. Their punishment would serve the State’s desire that all citizens live in compliance to their social order.


Though they had to stand alone, their unjust punishment revealed that they were not the enemy of the people—in fact they did not stand alone against the State. Their stand was with God who would be present with them in the fiery furnace. Their sacrificial stand was for all of the other God-fearing exiles living enslaved to the empire.


You may believe that you stand alone but you may be in fact have God stand by you.



[1] NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible ©2016 by Zondervan

[2] NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible ©2016 by Zondervan


I don't necessarily endorse all content from this site but it's always good to get different perspectives.

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